Self Love in Women

Self Love in Women

WE have been trained; raised; and made to believe; that when we, as women, practice self love, it is selfishness; egotism; and lack of empathy in our part.
Women are always expected to be self deprecating; self denigrating; and moreover, to be giving and giving, of ourselves, until we lose ourselves.
We lose our self worth.
We lose our self esteem.
We lose our identity.
We become like the proverbial Stepford Wives, walking; talking; breathing dolls; brought to this world to cater for the needs of everyone else, except ourselves.
We even feel guilty to speak up and say “We are not feeling well”, or that “We are having a bad day”. Or that we too need some ‘Me Time’, to pamper ourselves, and to rejoice in our identities as women, as human.
Most women have been through the wringer, where we have all the duties and responsibilities of being wives; mothers; daughters in law; without having the rights which come with the responsibilities.
Very few women dare to speak up.
Very few women dare to say “We have needs”.
The need to be affirmed.
The need to be given attention, for ourselves, not because we are doing a chore for someone.
The need to be given a “Thank You”.

Our upbringing has made us into Stepford Wives, and most women accept the role assigned to us.
If a woman dares to speak up against being made to feel invisible.
If a woman dares to set up boundaries.
If a woman decides to leave such a set up, she is called “A witch”; or “Mad”; or “Lost”.
Because of societal attitudes with confine women into such boxes, most women continue to stay in such arrangements.
Very few know there is a world out there, which is huge, and sometimes frightening, but it is there!
Waiting for her to come out of that cage; spread her wings; and fly.
But, for women to break out of the mould which societal expectations has entrenched them, women need the following:

  • Support networks of women and men, who understand, and respect, the right of women for self realization, and growth
  • Women need safety nets like low cost housing facilities, when they make the decision to break free
  • Women need psycho social support from family and friends, to get that affirmation that it might be difficult, the shitty days are bound to happen, but the clear and clean and free air out there, is worth the effort, and, the reward far exceeds the price

How do we learn Self Love?

  • By joining support groups which conduct training in self esteem
  • By being frank, and candid with our family and friends about ‘the cage’ we are in
  • By seeing ourselves as worthy, not only of self love, but also worthy of love from those who promised and made an oath to love us, but later, abbrogate their oath, and treat us like a burden, when in fact, we deserve much more than being treated like people who are undeserving of morale.
  • By insisting on getting the respect we deserve

To this end, we need to encourage the formation of support groups for women throughout the country, including in rural communities.
We need to revisit and to re introduce the filial duty of Sisterhood.
We need to get out of the Rusha Roho culture of laughing at other women who are undergoing a bad phase in their lives, and instead, encourage women’s self esteem by telling them “This is just a phase. You will make it”.

Together, we can make it happen.

Leila Sheikh

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